Gibbs questions GOP contenders
August 21st, 2011
02:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Gibbs questions GOP contenders

(CNN) – Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was an equal opportunity critic Sunday, taking swipes at the records of Republican presidential candidates.

Gibbs, who left the White House earlier this year but remains close to President Barack Obama, was most critical of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a relative newcomer to the race.

He said voters will dissect the Texas education system and question the newly declared candidate’s acceptance of stimulus funds while he espoused the virtues of smaller government.

“They're going to wonder why a place like Texas has one of the worst education systems,” Gibbs said on the NBC program “Meet the Press.” “They're going to wonder why a guy who doesn't like the government, the largest employer in Texas is Fort Hood, an army base.”

In addition, he said, $25 billion of funding from the Economic Recovery Act went to Texas and helped Perry balance the state budget.

Perry, who announced his candidacy in the crowded Republican field on August 13, has been touting Texas job creation, which has accounted for nearly 40 percent of new jobs in the United States since 2009, though many were low-wage.

Gibbs’ criticism also extended to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who frequently cites his history of job growth.

“They’re going to wonder why Mitt Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, was 47th in job creation,” Gibbs said.

Although he categorized Rep. Michele Bachmann’s recent win at the Ames Straw poll as “important,” Gibbs suggested Americans have more to learn about the Minnesota congresswoman and all the GOP contenders.

“I think the American people are going to get a chance quite frankly to kick the tires a little bit and look under the hood,” Gibbs said.

In spite of the harsh rhetoric, Gibbs said Obama is “not worried about his job.”

“He is worried about creating jobs for millions of Americans who’ve been out of work for six months or two years or longer,” Gibbs said. “That’s what his focus is.”

He put the onus for compromise on Republicans, who Gibbs said must decide if they are “going to be a partner that can work with the president” on his economic policies to spur job creation.

“The question the Republican Party is going to have to ask themselves quite simply is are they willing to set aside some party allegiance, are they willing to tell the tea party that they’re going to do what’s best for the country and not just necessarily what’s best for their political party?” Gibbs said. “That’s what September, October, November, December are going to be.”


Filed under: 2012 • Republicans • Rick Perry • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Gibbs "WHO"...?

    Newcomers...? Gibbs who...expert or what...?

    August 21, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. AzRose

    Everyone is still wondering about Obama's background, what qualified him to be president. Community organizing sure wasn't anything to qualify him to run this country. The ONLY thing Obama knows how to do is talk and lately his is not making much sense. I forgot, there is one other thing Obama does well, "The Blame Game".

    August 21, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. s

    Gibbs has no choice really but to scoffaw Republican candidates. To the bitter end Democrats will spin every story to sidestep the serious issues of lack of performance by the President.

    But the economy cannot lie. Record spending at a time of curtailed revenue has moved the country to the poorhouse.

    The majority in Congress have prevailed and there is no tax increase. So the President needs to suck it up and write a budget given available tax revenue.

    Where is the 2012 budget Constitutionally required of the President? Fiscal 2012 starts in only 41 days!

    August 21, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Yes we know Obama will win 2012 because there is no choice

    First when he will end the Bush- Obama tax cut for rich

    August 21, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. mike in TX

    Republicans have a well-deserved reputation: TheParty of No. Democrats need to really exploit that and hammer that to the Independents. Give us Dems a super majority so that we can pass the bills this great country needs to get us out of these bad times, without interference from The Party of No.

    August 21, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. William

    Perry, Palin, and Bachmann represent Larry, Curley, and Moe in their intelligence, their vocabulary, and their political expertise.

    August 21, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Perry is a major disappointment. He will not stand up to closer scrutiny. He is another Tea Party hobbit candidate with little substance.

    August 21, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    What GOP candidates? All the Republicans have put forth are a whole list of extremist non-leaders with not one idea for jobs, restoring our economy, and not one that shows any clue or concern for the current state of the American people who work fora living, who have children they want a decent education for, for soldiers who need veteran benefits and proper healthcare, not one idea or care for protecting our rights. Republicans have taken away worker rights, womens rights, and even our voting rights in Republican-controlled states. They don't care about the deficit – they just want to control the spending, take it away from the PEOPLE and hand it ALL to corporations – ending SS, Medicare, education, veteran care, agencies that protect us – the EPA, the FDA (want to eat uninspected meat), and even the FAA – want to fly when there are no safety regulations on the airlines. Want to trust banks who have had alll their regulations removed again so they can bring down our financial system again? Want racism to rule America again? That's the nation Republcans are offering you. They have NO candidates. They have destroyers of America for the PEOPLE.

    August 21, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    All the Dems know how to do, is political name calling.

    When it comes to solutions for our problems, they have no answers, whatsoever.

    August 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I pray that Gibbs won't talk too much about Perry until the time is "ripe" to let America know who the real Rick Perry is and not who he wants people to think he is. Rick Perry has a lot of explaining to do and it won't be about President Obama whom he's desperately attempting to discredit and it keeps back firing on Perry and it will continue to back fire on Perry until he comes clean about himself before it's disclosed.

    August 21, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. fayse

    Gibbs forgot to mention that of those jobs created in Texas 95% were Government jobs and 5% were in the private sector, many of those were minimum wage jobs with no benefits. Texas ranks very low in education and healthcare. I find it very peculiar that Karl Rove seems to be distancing himself from Perry to move over to the Republican Party. Also, after the election for Governor we heard that Karl Rove had been working in Perry's campaign. Perry won his last election with 39% of the vote, How very convienient that it was a three way race between Perry, Bill White and Kinky Friedman. Did Kinky run just to split the votes? Smells like Karl Rove to me.

    August 21, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Jon

    Got to admit, Republicans – man has a point.

    August 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Root and stem

    Obama questioned the patriotism of the GOP last week when he falsely accused them of putting party over country. By wildly running up deficits with no controls whatsoever the Obama and Democrats in Congress have committed high treason.

    August 21, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Bill

    Looks like Gibbs is as snarky as ever.

    August 21, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Eric

    GOP – the party that gives us endless spin, forces our attention onto petty issues, refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for all the damage heaped upon this nation thanks to their policies of squandering a budget surplus on war (and making even more rich one of their real masters – machinery of murder manufacturers), spending energy attacking their opposition endlessly and often disingenuosly to avert attention from themselves and their own very bad hehavior, having no genuine ideas to improve the situation for Americans and really only seem to care about regaining power so they can further the desires of the extremely rich and powerful – and watch the rest of us slide further into decline...all while keeping a chunk of American's dumbly drinking the Koolaid they peddle. I'm not saying the Dems are the answer. Politics in America suck but until we manage to create a viable alternative, I'll take the fairly inept Dems over the overtly evil GOP anytime.

    August 21, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. TeaParty Mike

    Gibbs says regarding Perry, “They're going to wonder why a guy who doesn't like the government, the largest employer in Texas is Fort Hood, an army base.”
    Of course this is how Gibbs and most progressive Democrats distort the conservative belief in smaller limited government. They twist it to mean conservatives hate government. Conservatives like and support limited and effective government and do not support the kind of excessive and wasteful government supported by the likes of Gibbs and progressive Democrats. Also conservatives love and support the military, so I am sure Perry loves the Fort Hood army base. Sorry Gibbs, conservatives do not hate government, just your version of it.
    What people are going to wonder about is how Texas under conservative Governor Perry has created 40% of the new jobs in America. They are going to wonder how Texas is succeeding where Obama has failed. When Democrats try to denigrate the jobs in Texas as not being worth while jobs, as I have seen many Democrats already do, people will wonder why Obama and the Democrats are still happy to include them in the national jobs totals they try to brag about. I have already heard many Democrats try and say Perry had nothing to do with creating the jobs, that they are a result of the Obama stimulus. When people hear Democrats say that they are going to wonder why Obama's stimulus seems then to have only worked in Texas and not all across America.
    I think people are going to be very interested in Governor Perry and what he has been doing in Texas to create so many jobs while the rest of the country is failing to.

    August 21, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Eric

    Root and Stem – drinking the Koolaid. And you gotta love the comment that says all the Dems know how to do is name calling! Rich stuff from the bunch who can't seem to see themselves or their actions clearly – the Right Wing is the master of name calling, of the increasing incivility in American politics, of outrageous hyperbol that barely reflects any facts of a situation. The poison infused into the American political dialogue is thanks in very large part to the right and the GOP yet they can't seem to grasp any of it. Like pull string dolls you just keep hearing the same crazy talk repeated over and over. I guess they hope eventually, if repeated often enough...people will accept nonsense as fact – just as they have.

    August 21, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Angy

    perry= bush 2.0.

    August 21, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Angy

    Rick McDaniel

    All the Dems know how to do, is political name calling.

    When it comes to solutions for our problems, they have no answers, whatsoever.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    come rick you have got to be kidding. PRESIDENT OBAMA has been called more names and disrespected then ANY president in history. He was NEVER given a chance and it is proof by your comment. LOL!

    August 21, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Bob IN

    Eric and Angy- well said. Totally agree with you! Republicans are destroying this country- the party of NO is going to get a NO vote. Can't wait.

    August 21, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. ABM

    The GOP field is a joke.

    Corporations are people.
    We have to keep an eye on the Soviet Union.
    The reason why I make inaccurate statements is due to my busy speaking schedule.
    Treason for boosting our treasury supply of currency.

    ....And they want your vote.

    Sorry NO thanks!

    August 21, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. docmartin

    Gibbs is still a doofus.

    August 21, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Little Jimmy Truth

    Why Gibbs left White House? Did he not happy with Obama?

    August 21, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. demogal

    Of course he is an "equal opportunity critic"–they all make it sooooooo easy.

    August 21, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Name king

    Hey the repugs keep destroying our platform to make our country great, such as education, infrastructures and reseach. They want to replace with corporate leadership and our entitlement programs will be on the stock markets, which goes up and down and anywhere the stock markets sends it. Now tell me is this certainty especially when we are in a global market and anything that affect a country that most people don't even know affect our country too. Maybe that is too much certainty, but I would rather a country that have programs that the middle-class and poor can fall back on when the wildly unpredictable market start ruining. Mock.

    August 21, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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